Many Christians have a good strong devotional tongue and are candidates for giving messages in tongues during a public service. What I mean by a good strong tongue is that there is some depth and diversity in it. If your devotional tongue only consists of a few of the same syllables repeated over and over again then you are not yet a candidate to give a public message in tongues. Work on cultivating your heavenly prayer language first.

Recent statistics reveal that only approximately 15% of all Spirit-baptized believers pray in other tongues on a regular basis. Some are just negligent while others do not have much fluency and a flow of liberty in their tongues. As a general rule, the more you use it the larger and more expansive your prayer language becomes.

The second element in giving public messages in tongues is you must have an interpreter present. You might ask, “How would you know if there is an interpreter present?” By example. If the pastor/minister or the leader of the meeting has not set the pattern and example for these twin gifts to be exercised in your gatherings, then more than likely, it will not happen. You’ve heard it said – everything starts with leadership.

Have you ever been in a meeting and someone in the congregation belts out a loud tongue and no one interprets it? It could be in a large meeting or a smaller one. The reason there is no interpreter is because one has not been assigned. And what usually happens is that there is a long un-edifying lull, and the leader might ask if there is someone who can give the  interpretation for the tongue. Or, someone may attempt to give an interpretation of it, but perhaps it is inaccurate or given from someone who is a stranger to the church community. The Bible says to know the leaders who labor among you (1 Thes. 5:12). Another possibility may be that the tongue never gets interpreted. When any of these things happen there is usually confusion.

The most comfortable, accurate, and secure interpretation that people will have confidence in will usually come from a recognized leader or a seasoned minister, or at the least, someone who’s been trained and has some experience. Furthermore, there has to be some kind of protocol given to people so that they will know the boundaries of what, when, and how they are to give what they receive from the Spirit of God.

For example, one pastor I know puts a handkerchief over the microphone when the meeting is closed to any participation from those gathered or when it is not appropriate to do so. Another will have people raise their hand or step to the front when they have something from the Spirit to share with the congregation. Establishing some sort of protocol is necessary to avoid disorder, confusion, and chaos like they had in Corinth before Paul brought correction (1 Cor. 14).

We don’t want disorder, chaos, and confusion. We want decency and order. We want liberty but with limitations. Although liberty without limitations will gender maximum participation, it will usually not produce maximum edification. On the other hand, limitations without much liberty will stifle and quench the Spirit. The balance we are after is liberty with limitations.

“If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret” (1 Cor. 14:27).

The full participation of these gifts works best under seasoned leadership, and in smaller churches or home groups. In larger churches the operation of these gifts should mainly be demonstrated by seasoned ministers or those who’ve been proven and assigned to such. In other words, they have been given liberty to exercise such gifts in a public service.

Again, all these points are moot if there is no interpreter. If every pastor would ask the Lord for interpretation, or better yet, to be an interpreter of public meetings, I am confident the Lord would grant it. Why would the Lord want to keep the leader in the dark about these things? If he is the leader then he should know the flow and direction of any service and have the ability to interpret messages in tongues.

Therein lay the problem, though. As one of my highly respected spiritual fathers used to always say: “Most pastors wouldn’t recognize the Holy Ghost if he walked in with a red suit and a red hat on.” I don’t say that to be disrespectful. For years I was not schooled in these things either; thus the necessity for more ministerial training.

We’ve trained people privately to conduct or move in 1 Cor. 14:26 type meetings. These type of meetings are mainly conducted only when believers are present. Training people privately is a real safe way to begin. I’ve led teams on mission trips and conducted early morning training sessions with them. In about an hour or two I’d have several of them giving a message in tongues for the first time in their lives or moving in prophecy. Now if I was pastoring a church I would probably have a few more training sessions with certain select candidates before giving them liberty to exercise these gifts in larger public meetings. When I say public, I mean when mostly believers are present.

So here are the elements that produce decency, order, and liberty in such believers meetings and will cause maximum edification:

1. Training by precept and example. Believers must receive teaching and instruction with demonstration in these gifts.
2. There must be certain protocol to establish boundaries as to what, when, and how to exercise these gifts.
3. These gifts must be demonstrated by those who’ve been trained and proven in private smaller sessions before allowing them to minister in larger settings.
4. There must be an interpreter present.
5. All pastors who lead their congregations should be able to interpret messages in tongues and the flow of public meetings.

Do you desire training in a 1 Corinthians 14:26 type of setting? Register now for our upcoming forum.



  1. Often when I am teaching on the Gifts I stress a “Mike Rule”, not a “Bible Rule”, but a “Mike Rule” that if implemented would avoid a lot of confusion. “If You Can’t Give The Interpretation…Don’t Give The Message!” I also always teach about understanding and knowing the Protocol of the house you are in, because every house is different. We must learn to adapt how we flow to the Protocol of the house we are in.

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